UGA parts ways with Perno

semerson@macon.comMay 19, 2013 

David Perno's long tenure at Georgia, which featured plenty of success but more recent lows, has come to an end.

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity informed Perno on Sunday that he was not being retained after 12 seasons. Perno, who guided Georgia to three appearances in the College World Series, finishes with a record of 390-335 at Georgia, Perno's alma mater. He also graduated from Clarke Central in Athens.

Perno's departure was officially termed a resignation in a UGA release on Monday afternoon.

“I have accepted David’s resignation and would like to express our appreciation to him for his numerous contributions to our baseball program over the last two decades as a player, assistant and head coach,” McGarity said in a statememt. “David was a part of our baseball program when it won a national title and helped Georgia advance to the College World Series five times during his playing and coaching career. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors. He has been a great representative for UGA. We have begun the process of finding the next head coach to lead our program and will do so as quickly as possible.”

The Bulldogs went 21-32 overall this season and 7-20 in the SEC. Georgia finished last out of 14 teams in the conference and is one of two teams not participating in the SEC tournament, which begins Tuesday.

This marks the third season out of the past four that Georgia will not make it to the NCAA tournament. The team reached the NCAA tournament six out times in Perno's tenure, reaching the the finals of the College World Series twice.

Perno had one year left on his Georgia contract. The school is expected to conduct a national search for his replacement. Monte Lee, the head coach at College of Charleston and a former South Carolina assistant, is among the names who could be in the mix, according to those in the college baseball industry.

While the Bulldogs bottomed out this season, Perno has had to deal with two catastrophic injuries to players: Chance Veazey was paralyzed in a scooter accident four years ago, and Jonathan Taylor was paralyzed in an outfield collision two years ago. In the past year, Perno has dismissed two younger players: Kyle Carter and J.T. Phillips, both products of Columbus, were arrested and subsequently thrown off the team.

“It’s been a privilege to wear the Bulldog uniform and represent the University of Georgia as a player, assistant and head coach,” Perno said in the UGA statement. “I love the University and, I’m very appreciative of the many players, coaches, and support staff with whom I’ve had the opportunity to work with in Athens. I would like to thank Coach Vince Dooley for providing me with the opportunity of a lifetime because it was a dream come true to lead the Georgia program. I’d like to thank Dr. Michael Adams for his support during his tenure. And I’d like to tell all my former and current players that I love them and appreciate all that they have done for this program. Finally, I want to thank the wonderful fans who shared in our success at Foley Field.”

One of Perno's top former players, Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, reacted via Twitter on Monday: "David Perno is a great coach and friend.He played a huge role in getting me where I wanted to go.He is & always will be a damn good Dawg!"

This is the fourth coaching change that McGarity has made since he was hired in August of 2010:

- The volleyball coach was fired a few months into the 2010 season.

- The women's golf coach did not have her contract renewed last year.

- Gymnastics coach Jay Clark resigned under pressure last year.

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